Rock attack victim dies; suspect charged with murder

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A transient severely bludgeoned with a rock in a Hillcrest canyon last month died Wednesday morning, leaving his suspected assailant facing a murder charge, authorities reported.

Jason Huggins, 31, succumbed to his injuries at Scripps Mercy Hospital about 4:30 a.m., according to the county Medical Examiner's Office.

Early on the evening of June 22, Huggins walked out of a gorge off the 1300 block of Washington Street and flagged down a passing motorist, according to San Diego police. He was only able to tell the driver he had been beaten on the head with a rock.

Medics took the victim to a trauma center, where his condition deteriorated severely.

Two days later, detectives arrested Joshua James Larson of North Park in the case as he drove away from a Hillcrest home. He was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder. Wednesday morning, prosecutors upgraded the latter count to a murder charge.

Larson, 37, also faces a second assault allegation in connection with a non-fatal beating that occurred at the same time as the attack on Huggins. That victim, a homeless man whose name has not been released, was treated and released at a hospital, SDPD Lt. Kevin Rooney said.

The lieutenant declined to disclose a suspected motive for the assaults, though he did say the three men knew each other prior to the alleged crimes.

Two years ago, Huggins testified against Larson in a criminal case charging the latter with drug possession and grand theft, according to television reports. Rooney would not comment on that report.

The defendant, who is being held on $1 million bail, faces 33 years to life in prison if convicted of all charges stemming from the two alleged assaults. A July 15 status conference and an Aug. 5 preliminary hearing are scheduled in the case.

Categories: KUSI